The Wisconsin Badgers' offensive line continues to be a concern heading into the season-opener against No. 3 Alabama. Third-string right tackle Walker Williams left practice Monday with a head injury, while the two men ahead of him on the depth chart remain out with health issues.
Redshirt senior Joel Stave is the starting quarterback behind that front line unit, and is expected to play against the Crimson Tide in Texas - but how well?
Stave has been the target of criticism throughout his entire career, but has been silently successful in his time in Madison, sporting a 21-7 record in 28 starts.
He is just 10 wins shy of breaking the school wins record held by Brooks Bollinger, and ranks in the top 5 in touchdown passes, completion percentage and winning percentage.
While some fans are cynical about Stave's ability to lead the Badgers, his teammates are taking his side ahead of his senior season.
"He's just looking to go out and hopefully silence critics this season," redshirt senior wide receiver Jordan Fredrick said. "He gets a lot of negative criticism, which doesn't make sense, because you think about his starting record, which is already very good, but about three or four of those losses have came when he hasn't finished the game."
"I think some of the fans fail to realize that Joel's human as well and he's going to make mistakes," junior running back Corey Clement said. "He comes out here every day and that's all we ask for is a hard-working, motivated and reliable quarterback. I think we're going to see a better Joel this 2015 season."
Kickoff between Wisconsin and Alabama is 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 5. You can see the game on WXOW News 19.